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Ask Dr. Rick Your Own Question
Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11109
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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After 15 years of experiencing what was called persistent

Customer Question

After 15 years of experiencing what was called persistent migraine aura (constant), consulting dozens of opthomologists and neurologists, including Mayo, an optho has finally looked at the back of my eye and is sending me to a retinal specialist for suspected vitreous degeneration or what he called severe opacity from "eye debris." From what I read there is surgery for this with the horror of two weeks lying face down. What do you know about this and can you even begin to speciulate as to how dozens and dozens of opthos and neuros did not see this?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

I am a retina surgeon and can tell you all about this surgery, called a vitrectomy, for floaters.

Dr. Rick :

Are you available to chat?

Dr. Rick :

What can you do about the floaters? Well, floaters don't go away, and they don't really get worse. Over time they tend to "sink" out of your central vision and you brain "filters" them out so you don't notice them so much anymore. They almost never cause significant visual problems except, of course, if they cause a secondary retinal detachment as discussed above. The only way to decrease or remove the floaters is with a major surgery called a vitrectomy. As a retinal specialist for almost 2 decades I've only done this procedure to remove floaters in a handful of cases.


 

Dr. Rick :

There is no need to be in a face down position after this surgery and you can expect to return to work in a week or so, with many patients getting back to their normal duties in 3 days.

Dr. Rick :

There, are of course, risks such as bleeding, infection, retinal detachment, poor result, need for further surgery. Also all patients can expect to get a cataract after this surgery within a couple of years.

Dr. Rick :

Here is an excellent video of an actual vitrectomy for floaters:

Customer:

This is not floaters, though. It is big blobs of white, moving light that shimmers. I have floaters also, but this is a much more severe situation.

Dr. Rick :

 


http://www.retinavitreous.com/video%20files/intro_floaters.html

Customer:

I had cataract surgery two years ago and optho says result excellent for that.

Dr. Rick :

If you ophthalmologist is sending you to a retina doc for suspected vitreous degeneration (eye debris) that is just another name for vitreous opacity, also called floaters. There are many terms for this condition :)

Dr. Rick :

OK. Then no need to worry about a cataract forming as yours has already been removed.

Customer:

This is very severe and limits my entire peripheral vision. I've never heard of "floaters" b eing this severe. Apparently neither did the dozens of opthos' I've consulted through the years and none suggested a retinal specialist.

Dr. Rick :

I've have done thousands of vitrectomy surgeries in the last two decades and a bunch for vitreous opacity. As a retina specialist, as you can see from the video, we see occasional patients with conditions such as yours.

Dr. Rick :

You just have to make sure you are comfortable with the risks of a vitrectomy for the possible visual benefits you are hoping to obtain.

Customer:

sure wish someone had sent me to a retinal specialist sooner than 15 years! I may be elegible for the MYSTERY DIAGNOSIS show.

Customer:

What are the risks?

Dr. Rick :

Like I stated above: infection, bleeding, retinal detachment, loss of vision, loss of the eye (rare), poor result, need for further surgery. You don't can't get another cataract....

Dr. Rick :

Your retina doc will go over these in detail with you.

Customer:

Does this get worse if one does not have the surgery?

Dr. Rick :

It is weird that they waited so long to think of sending you to a retina doc.....

Customer:

OK. I'm just in panic mode because this diagnosis is new to me and a complete departure from what I've thought I had for all of these years.

Dr. Rick :

That depends on the cause of the vitreous opacity. In some conditions it does; from what you are telling me that doesn't seem to be how things are going with you.

Customer:

Weird is right - and I went to "top rated" opthomologists, not opticians at JCPenny.

Dr. Rick :

Ahhhh, yes. But you didn't consult the Ophthalmologists at JustAnswer lol!

Customer:

Hey, when this started there was no JustAnwer, in fact no internet!

Customer:

Thanks

Dr. Rick :

And you just happened to get the retina specialist for your question today....lucky u ;)

Dr. Rick :

I remember those days......

Dr. Rick :

no cell phones either.

Dr. Rick :

My pleasure.

Dr. Rick :

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